“No”, I corrected as I crawled around on my hands and knees, “we’re going to pick them all up. No one is going to step on a pin! Now please help me!”
“Je ne parle pas anglais”
She thinks she is clever because she is in French immersion and no one understands what she is saying. She doesn’t really understand yet either but regardless, she knows more than the boys of the household and has fun confusing them. She likes to make up French “sounding “gibberish, especially when she is being told to do something because it throws them off. It works with her brother and dad. It does not work with me.
I think she reluctantly picked up ONE pin, but upon doing so, screamed in torment as if she had been stabbed with a harpoon and gave up. She told me she was just a kid and it was dangerous for kids to pick up pins. Besides, she pointed out, she wasn’t the one who dropped them.
Still, even without her assistance I thought I had gathered up all the pins.
I was wrong…as tends to happen.
Sure enough, a few days after I drop the pins, I get a frantic, angry phone call from Darren. He is in agony. He has stepped on a needle and it’s inserted so far into his foot that only the eye of the needle is poking out.
I can hear Hannah, the little traitor, in the background saying, “I told mommy this would happen.”
I don’t know why I’m the first person Darren calls in such situations. First remove the needle and if you need medical assistance, call an ambulance! Do not call Lala. I cannot help you.
But of course he is not phoning for help or advice. He, with his little sidekick, Hannah, is phoning to place blame.
In a barely controlled voice he asks me if I know why he stepped on a pin.
“Because you don’t look where you’re going?” I answer helpfully.
“NO!” he shrieks, abandoning all pretence of self-control. “YOU dropped pins on the carpet and didn’t pick them up!”
My cell vibrates at the intensity of his outrage.
“Where are you getting your information?” I ask as calm as you please.
“Hannah is a child,” I say, “who are you going to believe, a child or a grown adult?”
Darren cannot believe my lack of contrition and yells, “The child!”
I, however, am not about to admit to anything and instead say, “Does it really matter why at this point? Don’t you think you should remove the foreign object from your foot before worrying about who is responsible? Also, you have to be responsible for your own feet. Surely, you can’t blame me for where YOU decide to tread!”
In frustration he hangs up.
A few days later he has stepped on another one of these pins and I receive another one of his phone calls.
It occurs a few more times in the proceeding weeks. Each time I am not home and each time he phones me on my cell to freak out and demand that something be done. Short of ripping up the carpet, I don’t know what more can be done.
He doesn’t know either, but he does know that with every pin that impales his foot, his resentment for me builds, as does his fear of entering the living room. His god, the TV, is in there, though, and it isn’t like he can avoid his place of worship.
A few weeks of this and he tells me he can’t take it anymore. He does not think he can survive another pinning. And even though I have not admitted (and never will) to any culpability in the matter, he is still suspicious my clumsiness is responsible for the pins. Because of this, he thinks it’s only fair I offer up some sort of restitution. Failing that, it would give him great satisfaction to see ME step on one of these pins.
I tell him that is a horrible, horrible thing to wish on anyone, especially your wife, and as punishment I am left with no choice but to put The Curse of the Pin on him.
“You already DID!!!” he sputters.
Again, ignoring any blame, I suggest to him that if it was me who kept stepping on pins I’d start wearing slippers. I would also avoid the area where I suspect the pins are strewn.
For some weird reason, even though it fills him with dread, he cannot keep himself away from the vicinity of the pin carnage. This perverse fascination is in fact why he keeps stepping on them. Look and ye shall find.
Eventually he does listen to me and takes to wearing slippers. He also makes an effort to stay away from the area in question, but he simply can’t do it. Nevertheless, for another week he is fine. No more pinnings. It seems he has managed to retrieve all the wayward pins with his foot.
“See? I brighten, “something positive has come out of this. Now the kids won’t step on a pin because you’ve already done it for them! You’re a good dad”.
My words of praise do nothing to dissolve his simmering rage.
Then one morning, he wakes up with an ache and stabbing sensation in his back. This is nothing new, mind you, and as a rule I more or less ignore his physical complaints. He worries and complains about back pain constantly because when he was 19 he got into a bad car accident and fractured his spine. His doctors at the time warned that as he got older he may start to experience chronic lumbar pain and other associated symptoms.
The result of this is that Darren is constantly on high alert to ANY discomfort in his back no matter how minor or imagined. This time, however, he says it is “different” and excruciating enough that he can’t go to work.
For the rest of the day he lay on the couch moaning about how he needs to go to the doctor and get some painkillers, but he never makes a move to actually do this. In the meantime, I suggest a muscle relaxant.
It is not until later in the night at maybe 9 or 10 o’clock that I get another one of Darren’s by now customary phone calls. From his pressured tone and rapid breathing I know immediately this has something to do with pins.
I was correct.
It seems Darren had reached around to scratch where his back hurt and in doing so pricked his finger on something sharp. There was blood. He nearly fainted when he realized what it was.
It was the tip of a pin.
You have no idea how disappointed I am that he never went to see that doctor about his “ailment”.
Every time I think of this whole pin situation I am thrown into a new fit of hysterics. As a consequence, Darren has stopped speaking to me. He is beside himself that I’m not taking it more seriously. He says with utter conviction that if he hadn’t felt the pin when he did, he probably would be dead right now.
“Don’t be absurd,” I laugh, “you can’t die from being stabbed in the back with a pin. A knife, sure, but a pin? I don’t think so, there pincushion”.
Oh and I’ve taken to calling him pincushion.